The Difference Between Marxist and Functionalist Belief in Society

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Compare and contrast the Functionalist and Marxist views of society. Sociology has been classified as the last in a long line of emerging scientific disciplines which people have developed and explored in order to make sense of their world. Early theories such as the positivist approach of Comte, the functionalist views of Emile Durkheim and the conflict perspectives of Karl Marx have offered a view of why human beings behave as they do and how they fit together in society. Each theory has to some extent been shaped or influenced by the approach of others and many sociological explanations have comparisons or contrast that can be made. Browne once said "sociological perspectives centre on how much freedom or control the individual had to influence society" He goes on to comment on the two main approaches "structuralism is concerned with the overall structure of society and the way social institutions act as a constraint, or limit and control individual behaviour". Structuralism offers a view of the individual being controlled by the society they live in, Marx and Durkheim are similar in that they can both be described as structuralists, however their individual ideas are somewhat different. Functionalism was developed by Emile Durkheim, he believed like Comte that sociology should be viewed as a precise science and that society should be studied objectively. Durkheim placed an enormous amount of emphasis on social facts which he saw as ways of acting, thinking or feeling that are external to individuals and have their own reality outside the lives and perceptions of individual people. This is known as the macro approach, which places a great emphasis on the structure of society and how an individual operates with that society. Durkheim uses organic analogy of the human body, in order for the body to proper all parts like organs have to work together and
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